When I was 6 I picked out a back pack and lunch box, put a pretty dress on, climbed on the school bus, and went to my neighborhood school. I got good grades, played with my friends, and relaxed on the weekend. If you were mean to your friends you went to the principal’s office. If you weren’t you probably had no idea who the principal was. I was one of those kids. The only time I was near his office was when it was my turn to read the morning announcements. So of course I assumed that when I had children things would happen in a similar manner.
Fast forward 20 years. This whole school thing sucks now. It’s hard. It’s not as simple (for most of us) as standing on the porch waving with a cup of coffee as your child climbs on to the bus to start their day. From the moment Alaina started preschool we knew she was different. Things were hard for her. Instead of her teachers bringing these hardships to our attention we got smiles at pick up and a child who was withdrawing so slowly that as her parents we didn’t even see it. It wasn’t until she started bringing artwork home and telling us she “didn’t do it right” that we saw a giant red flag. What 4 year old isn’t proud of a giant collage of cut up paper? We immediately pulled her from the toxic environment she was in and began working with her at home but it was too late. Every.single.thing. Has been a struggle for Alaina ever since.
When it comes to choosing a school for the kids I don’t feel I’m unrealistic, but I have some deal breakers. I know there is no perfect school. I have zero tolerance for bullies. Alaina is an easy target. Shes polite, quiet, has anxiety issues, and doesn’t advocate for herself which are things she works on weekly in OT. Alaina was bullied all through kindergarten with out our knowledge bc it was blown off by teachers and she was too afraid to tell us. This continued into first grade, but this time I knew what was happening and made myself a presence with her teacher every time the was an incident. Nothing was EVER done to this bully. Nothing. This is why we left Holy Cross. I couldn’t leave her in a small Catholic school to endure that until 8th grade in addition to all her other physical and emotional issues.
My second deal breaker? My children being treated with disrespect. When we heard about Xavier it sounded like the perfect fit for the girls. Great curriculum, staff, after school clubs and FREE. I heard through the grapevine that Alaina would have an amazing teacher, something she desperately needed. At the beginning of the year small things bothered me, but nothing I couldn’t look past bc of how much Alaina was thriving. Her teacher really is a god send and I believe that this woman was put in Alaina’s life at the exact right time. She pushes her to do her best, but also quietly raises her confidence. She is 100% supportive of all the modifications in Alaina’s IEP and really advocates for her.
Communication between home and school administration is non existent. There have been major staffing changes within the building that were never communicated to parents. If there is a change to the calendar the administration informs the children at morning assembly and it is then their responsibility to pass that on to parents. The principal’s monthly newsletter is a few paragraphs mostly consisting of reminders of all the wrong things we as parents do like walking our kids into the building or stopping by for an impromptu lunch with our child.
The icing on the lack of communication cake was finding out that the most disrespectful woman I have ever met was appointed the new Dean of Students. I have witnessed on numerous occasions this woman demanding respect and compliance from students yet telling them to “shut their mouths.” Woah. Time out. My children are supposed to respect a woman who has no issue telling a child to shut up? They may fear her but they will never respect her.
I feel like this is my breaking point with Xavier. Today she made all of the teachers (even down through the little ones) take time out of their day to read the children the dress code and point out that children were breaking the rules. Are you fucking kidding me? We are in a school where my daughter hasn’t been outside for recess in WEEKS bc kids don’t have proper winter coats, yet this woman is going to take time out of the teachers day to harp on leggings and proper dress length. Good Lord.
I’m done. I’ve been toying with the idea of homeschool for years, but curriculum overwhelms me. Last year we were introduced to Connections Academy (an online public school) by a friend and I didn’t feel ready yet to take the plunge. I still had lots of questions. After yet another crappy school experience I’m jumping in feet first and the kids couldn’t be more excited. Every morning on the way to school they say, “can’t we start homeschooling this week?” lol I can’t wait. Registration begins in April and I’ll be up bright and early filling out their applications.